In July, vandals damaged all four pay-and-display machines in Cardigan’s busiest car parks. As the council was unable to repair the machines immediately, shoppers have been able to enjoy a period when they no longer had to pay to leave their cars.
Local traders now say they have benefited from a substantial increase in custom due entirely to the fact that motorists have not had to rush back to their vehicles before their parking entitlement runs out.
Business owners in Cardigan say that the temporary removal of parking restrictions has levelled the playing field when it comes to competing with large out-of-town shopping centres, where parking is usually free.
As a result of Cardigan’s experience, high-streets minister Marcus Jones has even suggested that the centres of some smaller UK towns should be declared parking meter-free zones.